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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    The home of Healthcare.gov in 2014. Photo by Karen Bleier/Getty Images

    The home of Healthcare.gov in 2014. Photo by Karen Bleier/Getty Images

    With the annual sign-up period for plans on the health law’s marketplaces starting Nov. 1, many consumers are worried about rising premiums, shrinking provider networks and the departure of major insurers such as UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana from many exchanges.

    The impact on coverage will vary, but the shifting landscape means that it’s more important than ever for consumers to carefully evaluate the plans that are available in their area and choose the best one for their needs. There are several elements to factor into that decision.

    It’s crucial to log into the marketplace and review plan details. Comparing plan premiums and deductibles only scratches the surface of what you should evaluate before selecting a plan this fall. Policy details can make an important difference in coverage and costs, but it may take some digging to uncover them.

    Avoid Premium Sticker Shock

    Premium increases for 2017 will generally be higher than last year’s rate hikes, though with significant geographic variation. In the two-thirds of states where the federal government runs the marketplace, the average premium increase for the second lowest cost silver plans will be 25 percent next year, according to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services. Last year, the comparable premium increase was 7 percent. The average premium, before tax credits, for the lowest cost silver plan will be $433.

    About 85 percent of marketplace customers have incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $47,000 for one person) and qualify for federal tax credits to help pay their premiums. If you are one of these consumers, it may be necessary to switch plans to minimize your share of the premium because your tax credit is pegged to the second lowest-cost silver plan in your area, which often changes from year to year.

    Premium increases for 2017 will generally be higher than last year’s rate hikes, though with significant geographic variation.

    Next year, three quarters of people can find a cheaper plan at the same metal level if they come back to the marketplace to shop. Consumers who bought the lowest cost silver plan in 2016 can save an average $58 per month by switching to the cheapest silver plan next year, according to HHS.

    People with subsidies “can insulate themselves from premium increases by selecting one of the lowest cost silver plans,” said Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health.

    If you’re currently buying an individual plan but not going through the marketplace, be sure to recheck your eligibility for subsidies. Federal officials estimated earlier this month that 2.5 million people who purchased coverage outside the exchanges have incomes that would qualify for financial assistance.

    Look For Hidden Benefits

    A close look at plan details may show that coverage is more generous than it appears. Even as deductibles continue to rise, many plans are offering coverage for certain services before the deductible is satisfied. So instead of having to pony up the entire cost of your visit to the doctor or your prescription drug until the deductible is paid off, you may just owe a copayment.

    This year, for example, 66 percent of silver-level plans sold on healthcare.gov covered primary care doctor visits before the deductible. Half of plans covered generic drugs before the deductible. (In addition, the health law requires that many preventive care services, including tests and screenings, vaccinations and contraceptives, generally be covered without requiring people to pay anything out of pocket in all new marketplace plans.)

    This practice can serve two purposes. Encouraging primary care may save insurers money down the road on more expensive treatment. And exempting some services from the deductible could help make plans more appealing to the relatively healthy people insurers want to attract and who might otherwise balk at policies with a typical deductible of around $3,000.

    “Part of it is trying to give people some value even if they’re not high users of health care,” said Sarah Lueck, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.

    Sidestep Automatic Re-enrollment

    If your plan is continuing next year, you may be automatically renewed, but that may not be your best option. Do some comparison shopping on marketplace plans to see whether there are changes to plan benefits or provider networks that matter to you and how 2017 pricing will affect your subsidy.

    If your plan is not going to be available next year and you don’t actively pick a new plan, you may find yourself automatically enrolled in a plan with similar costs and benefits.

    If your plan is not going to be available next year and you don’t actively pick a new plan, you may find yourself automatically enrolled in a plan with similar costs and benefits. But that can mean changes in the list of approved drugs or losing access to your favorite hospitals and doctors, among other things.

    Pay attention to timing. Enrollment ends Jan. 31, but to have coverage that starts Jan. 1, you must make a choice by Dec. 15.

    Check Out New Standardized Plans

    Next year, healthcare.gov will join several state-based marketplaces in offering standardized plans that are expected to help consumers make apples-to-apples comparisons between plans at the bronze, silver and gold levels and cut down on confusion caused by a sometimes bewildering array of options. In these “simple choice” plans, the deductibles and annual limits on out-of-pocket spending will be standardized, as will many of the consumer payments for medical services. For example, the standardized silver plan will have a deductible of $3,500 and the maximum amount you will owe out of pocket for the year will be $7,100.

    In addition to standardized benefits, many of the plans cover a number of services before the deductible is satisfied, such as primary care and specialist visits, drugs, urgent care and outpatient mental health.

    Many standardized plans also rely on copayments (fixed amounts that you pay for a service), rather than coinsurance (a percentage of the cost of the service), to a greater extent than people may see in regular marketplace plans, said Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Insurers aren’t required to offer standardized plans in most states, but the federal government is promising that the plans will be prominently displayed on healthcare.gov.

    Dig Into Prescription Drug Details

    Drug coverage is a big concern for many people, but finding plan details can be tough. You can check out a plan’s list of covered drugs through healthcare.gov, but determining what your share of the cost will be can be more challenging. That’s because even though state marketplaces typically only show four cost-sharing tiers online, many plans have five, six or even more tiers. In 2016, 40 percent of silver marketplace plans had more than four cost-sharing tiers, according to Avalere data.

    Also, insurers on the exchanges may require that your doctor or other health provider get prior authorization from the insurer before prescribing some drugs for you or demand that you try a less expensive drug before getting a more expensive one, a practice called step therapy, said Pearson.

    “If you’re a consumer that has a lot of drug costs or takes specialty medications, actually consulting the plan documents is important, because you need more granularity than is available on the website,” said Pearson.

    Check Provider Networks

    You will be able to check which doctors and hospitals participate in the plans you’re considering on healthcare.gov. That’s increasingly important as networks continue to narrow and fewer plans offer any out-of-network coverage. An initiative by the federal government to communicate whether a plan’s network is basic, standard or broad in all states using the federal marketplace has been trimmed back to a four-state pilot in Tennessee, Maine, Ohio and Texas.

    Use Caution When Shopping Off The Marketplace

    If the marketplace plans don’t appeal and you don’t qualify for subsidies, you can shop for individual market coverage off the exchanges, although the number of such offerings has been declining, said Katherine Hempstead, who directs health insurance coverage research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    Off-exchange plans can’t be too wildly different from what’s available on the exchange, because they also have to cover the essential health benefits and offer plans in metal tiers that cover the same proportion of care as those on the marketplace, among other things. But in some markets, plans may offer different or broader provider networks outside the exchanges, said Corlette.

    There’s a potential downside, however. If your income is too high to qualify for subsidies at the beginning of the year, you may qualify for them later if your income drops — for example, if you lose a major client. But that’s only an option if you’re already enrolled in a marketplace plan.

    “If you’re enrolled outside the exchange and you have a change in income, you can’t qualify for a special enrollment period to sign up for a different plan,” Corlette said.

    The post 7 tips for navigating Obamacare open enrollment appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Mature businesswoman in discussion with female colleague at conference table in office. Related words: job interview, job search, coworker, salary negotiation. Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

    Mature businesswoman in discussion with female colleague at conference table in office. Related words: job interview, job search, coworker, salary negotiation. Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

    In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


    “How should I present my lack of formal education, as I am sure it will be used against me in salary negotiations?”

    Question: I am looking for a new job in the e-commerce arena. I have seven years of marketing, production, management and technical experience, but absolutely no college education. How should I present my lack of formal education, as I am sure it will be used against me in salary negotiations?

    Nick Corcodilos: Don’t present it at all. Focus on your understanding of the company’s business, the e-commerce industry and on the problems and challenges this specific company is facing. Doing this research will be harder work than many college courses, and it can substitute for a degree if an employer is more focused on productivity than on credentials.

    Be ready to outline how you’re going to use your talents and skills to make the company more profitable. It’s entirely up to you to show why you’re worth the money you’re asking for. That’s the core of the approach I teach here on Ask The Headhunter and in my books. See “Stand Out: How to be the profitable hire.”

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: The huge mistake almost everyone makes when they ask for a higher job offer

    If they’re still stuck on the degree, there’s little you can do other than suggest you will earn a degree soon — and then do it. If you really want to pursue that route, there are ways to get college credit for your work knowledge and experience through good distance-learning programs. (See “Can I earn a degree from the School of Hard Knocks?”)

    Check with your state education department for a listing of accredited schools that offer distance learning programs. Don’t assume an e-education program is legit based on marketing; check it out thoroughly. I’d even contact companies you’d like to work for and ask them which distance-learning programs they respect.

    Focus on your understanding of the company’s business, the e-commerce industry and on the problems and challenges this specific company is facing.

    While I’m a fan of e-education, I also think a bricks-and-mortar college experience is worth the investment. Plenty of face time with professors and other students in an academic setting produces a well-rounded graduate. But don’t assume you should attend a big-name school. There are many good community colleges and state-funded schools that will cost a lot less.

    Some companies will hold the lack of a degree against you when negotiating, but not all will. Play it as it lays, and don’t walk in feeling at a disadvantage. If you do, it will show, and that will hurt you. (On another note, be careful about fudging your credentials. See “Degree Inflation: Will it blow up in your face?”)

    • Your goal should be to justify the salary you want by mapping your abilities to the employer’s objectives, so you must ask what those are.
    • Ask what the boss wants a new hire to accomplish in the first year, then in two and three years. Discuss these to make sure you understand them.
    • Be ready to show how you will pull that off. Few job applicants are prepared to do that, and it’s easy for the boss to reject them.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Will I lose a salary negotiation if I state my number first?

    A talented person who can think fast on their feet and explain what they can do — that’s who a manager may bend the rules for.

    Just don’t expect any manager to coax all this out of you. You must explain it to the manager. Lack of a degree need not hamper your salary negotiations. No employer will pay you what you want unless you can demonstrate how you’re going to deliver the outcomes the employer wants from you. That’s where a strong negotiating position comes from.

    Dear Readers: Has lack of a college degree made job interviews challenging? How did you get past this hurdle? If you’re a manager, do you put a lot of stock in degrees?


    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: I don’t have a college degree. Will that hurt my negotiating power? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Scott* via Flickr

    Political groups view control of the high courts as essential to either defending or thwarting state laws. Photo by Scott* via Flickr

    SEATTLE — Wealthy powerbrokers. Special interest groups. Millions of dollars pouring in to elect conservatives or liberals.

    It sounds like a typical election-year contest for Congress or a state legislature, but it’s actually a high-stakes battle for institutions that were once considered above politics: state supreme courts. Political groups view control of the high courts as essential to either defending or thwarting state laws. And they are more and more willing to spend big to gain the advantage.

    Political groups view control of the high courts as essential to either defending or thwarting state laws.

    So far in the current election cycle, a record $14 million in independent money has been spent on television advertisements for state supreme court seats, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. That represents about half of all the money spent on the races, including the amount spent by the candidates themselves.

    The final tally, which will not be known until after Election Day, is sure to be much higher and will probably shatter the previous outside spending record of $13.5 million, set in the 2011-12 election cycle.

    “State supreme court elections have become increasingly high-cost and politicized,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel at the Brennan Center. “Special interests have been putting a lot of money into those races, trying to shape who sits on the courts and ultimately the decisions the courts are making.”

    Not including uncontested races, some 52 seats in 27 states are in play Nov. 8, according to the Brennan Center’s tally.

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case helped accelerate outside spending on judicial campaigns, the type of spending that is not supposed to be done in coordination with the candidates themselves.

    In Washington state, the supreme court contest involves some of the world’s wealthiest people. Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen and the company’s former chief executive, Steve Ballmer, have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to unseat Justice Charles Wiggins, who is seeking his second six-year term.

    Wiggins became a target after he joined the majority in striking down a state law that allowed public funding of charter schools and an anti-tax measure that had been approved by voters. His opponents have contributed $900,000 just since mid-October, 60 percent of that coming from Gates, Ballmer and Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc.

    A political action committee called Judicial Integrity Washington has aired advertisements in the last two weeks attacking Wiggins as soft on crime. That PAC is backed by $350,000 from three other wealthy Washington executives — investor Ken Fisher, developer Kemper Freeman and Seattle Mariners Chief Executive John Stanton.

    “I expected there might be some independent spending, but I didn’t expect it to be of that magnitude,” Wiggins said.

    “Special interests have been putting a lot of money into those races, trying to shape who sits on the courts and ultimately the decisions the courts are making.”

    The Republican State Leadership Committee is dedicating $4 million to try to elect conservative jurists in many states. Group President Matt Walter said the goal is to counter years of judicial campaign spending by trial lawyers and unions.

    “We saw a need to provide a balanced flow of information to the voters,” he said.

    North Carolina is among the states where outside groups are spending to support both sides.

    A liberal political action committee called North Carolina Families First has spent more than $905,000 to try to flip control of the officially nonpartisan high court in favor of Democrats, according to ad buys tracked by the Brennan Center. In the past two years, the court’s Republican majority has upheld the use of taxpayer money for student scholarships at private schools, as well as the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts in a manner that federal appeals courts later struck down as racial gerrymandering.

    President Barack Obama weighed in last week with an unusual endorsement for Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, who is trying to unseat two-term incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds.

    In Kansas, conservatives hope to oust four justices who face retention elections just as the court considers cases related to abortion and education funding.

    Charter school supporters as well as oil and gas companies are trying to influence the election for an open seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court, setting a record for outside spending on a judicial race in that state. Outside groups are also expected to help set a spending record in a Montana race.

    Some of the spending is being used to paint justices as soft on crime even when other issues — such as school funding — seem to be more significant drivers in the race.

    That sort of advertising is problematic in judicial races because it can affect how courts make decisions, said Joanna Shepherd, who teaches law at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.

    Her research has shown that as more ads air during judicial campaigns, the less likely state justices are to side with defendants during criminal appeals. That could be because sitting justices are worried about being attacked for those decisions during their next race.

    “It raises real questions about due process,” Shepherd said, “and how people are being treated.”

    ___

    Associated Press writers John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

    The post Political groups are pouring millions in to state supreme court races appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pope Francis speaks to journalists on his flight back to Rome on November 1, 2016. The pope told a reporter that women would most likely be banned from the Catholic priesthood forever. Photo by REUTERS/Ettore Ferrari/Pool

    Pope Francis speaks to journalists on his flight back to Rome on November 1, 2016. The pope told a reporter that women would most likely be banned from the Catholic priesthood forever. Photo by REUTERS/Ettore Ferrari/Pool

    Pope Francis today reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women serving in the priesthood, adding that he believes the ban will likely be forever.

    “Concerning the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands,” the pope said during a news conference aboard a flight from Sweden to Rome on Tuesday. Pope Francis is referencing the late pope’s 1994 declaration that the church has “no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”

    A Swedish journalist had asked whether the Catholic Church would allow women to be ordained into the priesthood in the future, adding that Pope Francis met with Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen, a woman, during his recent visit to Sweden to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

    In a follow-up, the reporter pressed: “But forever, forever? Never, never?”

    “If we read carefully the declaration by St. John Paul II, it is going in that direction,” the pope responded, adding however that “women can do many other things better than men.”

    Though Pope Francis’s remarks do not contradict his previous statements on the subject — he said in 2013 that the door was “closed” on women becoming priests — in August he approved a commission to study the role of women as deacons in the church, a move which some believed could be a move to end the Catholic Church’s long-standing practice of excluding women from the clergy.

    Allowing women to be ordained as priests in the church has been suggested as a solution to the growing shortage of priests worldwide. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the total number of priests worldwide dropped from 419,728 in 1970 to 414,313 in 2014, while the ratio of Catholics per priest increased from 1,895 in 1980 to 3,126 in 2012.

    The post Pope Francis says Catholic ban on female priests likely to last forever appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    george

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Regardless of the outcome on Election Day, political scientists have already begun studying this groundbreaking campaign.

    One tantalizing subject: the true value of political consultants. Are they worth the millions they charge politicians each year?

    Atlantic magazine writer Molly Ball explores this question in her article, “There’s Nothing Better Than a Scared, Rich Candidate.”

    What a great quote.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MOLLY BALL, The Atlantic: Yes.

    That is a quotation from a book by a political scientist about the political consulting industry. And it’s something that a consultant said to him that just really summed up what I was getting at with this article, which was kind of asking the question, is this all a con game, this political consulting racket?

    Candidates are spending billions of dollars, and what are they really getting for it? Or is it just the consultants lining their pockets?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, this is a question that has been asked for some time, but it comes into particular relief this year, doesn’t it?

    MOLLY BALL: That’s right.

    I mean, first of all, look at what happened particularly in the Republican primaries. You had the two extremes. You had Jeb Bush spent $130 million, end up with four delegates.

    JEB BUSH (R), Former Governor, Florida: I’m Jeb Bush, and I approve this message.

    MOLLY BALL: Donald Trump spent almost nothing.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.

    MOLLY BALL: Had no experienced consultants on his staff, nobody who’d ever run a presidential campaign before, and barely advertised on television, didn’t do any of the tactical stuff we’re used to and we write about so much, building of field operation and having a communications shop and all of that stuff. And he won the whole thing.

    DONALD TRUMP: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    MOLLY BALL: So, the question is, does that mean the emperor has no clothes? Does that mean that all this spending — there’s more money in politics than ever before. Because of the way campaign finance has been deregulated, donor money is pouring into the political process. There’s, by one estimate, $6 billion this year alone.

    Where is all that money going, what is it doing, and is it having any effect?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you spent time talking with one of the people who was key in the Jeb Bush campaign, Mike Murphy, somebody who’s been around for a while in American Republican politics. And what did you find from talking to him about what the plan was and how he saw his ability to shape the campaign?

    MOLLY BALL: Yes.

    Well, I want to make it clear that I’m not really picking on Mike Murphy. He’s just an exemplar of this phenomenon. But it’s a pretty perfect example of a campaign that spent a lot of money, had a very professional staff, and didn’t achieve any results.

    Mike Murphy’s explanation was, this just wasn’t the year for a candidate like Jeb Bush. And I think that’s certainly true in retrospect, in hindsight. But he said that, we had to have all that money because it was the only way we could have gone against the headwinds we were facing. And nobody could have anticipated the magnitude of the electorate’s appetite for what he terms a grievance candidate.

    But, you know, the donors that I spoke to, the people who were giving Jeb Bush $100 million, they expect the consultants to see those things.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: For all the controversy, the questions around political consultants, some of them have achieved near mythic status, James Carville from the Bill Clinton campaign of years ago, Karl Rove from George W. Bush’s campaign.

    They really helped make these candidates who they were, didn’t they?

    MOLLY BALL: This is really a modern phenomenon of the consultants as a celebrity in his or her own right.

    Political consulting gets started back in the 1930s, but they were really sort of anonymous figures until really in the 1990s. Political journalism really started focusing on these sort of Oz-like figures, right, the man behind the curtain pulling the strings.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I just took it as a good sign, because I don’t think they would call back if they weren’t considering.

    MOLLY BALL: And so you do have — you know, you have the documentary “The War Room” about James Carville and George Stephanopoulos in the ’90s.

    JAMES CARVILLE: It’s going to come out that Roger Ailes is behind a lot of this stuff before an election.

    MOLLY BALL: Those men are now famous in their own right.

    Karl Rove was supposedly George W. Bush’s brain, right? Bush is, in this scenario, sort of a hapless pawn, and Rove is calling all the shots.

    But, you know, part of why we turn consultants into heroes like this is because partisans, particularly on the losing side, want to believe that there was some kind of hidden genius. It wasn’t that their candidate wasn’t good enough and people didn’t like what they were offering, and voters rejected them. It’s that there was this, you know, sinister Svengali on the other side who had some kind of magical ability to control the electorate.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it possible to know how much of a campaign and a candidate’s performance in a campaign is thanks to the consultant and how much of it is the candidate himself or herself?

    MOLLY BALL: It’s very difficult.

    I mean, political scientists actually love the Donald Trump campaign, because it’s sort of a control for the experiment, right? Because there has been so little consultant input to Donald Trump’s presentation, you can sort of isolate the effect of a candidate on his own with his particular charisma and no particular shaping or help, at least until the very late stages of his campaign.

    But, in general, political scientists have been studying this for decades. A real landmark of this type of study was done when Rick Perry was running for governor of Texas in 2010, and the consultants running his campaign actually allowed a group of political scientists to run a randomized controlled experiment, where they ran ads in one part of Texas.

    GOV. RICK PERRY (R-Texas): I’m proud of Texas. How about you?

    MOLLY BALL: They didn’t run any ads in the other part of Texas. And these were pretty similar populations, so they could really see, what was the effect? How much did people in this part of Texas like Rick Perry more, having seen his ads, vs. the people in this other place?

    And they did find there was a small effect, about five points. But it was gone within a week.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And yet certain political ads are seared in our collective memory as game-changers, such as the so called “Daisy” ad Lyndon Johnson ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964.

    MAN: Two, one, zero.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Or the windsurfing ad run against John Kerry in 2004.

    NARRATOR: John Kerry, whichever way the wind blows.

    MOLLY BALL: What the consultants will tell you is that the kind of mythmaking that we journalists engage in, where we say, this ad was the turning point, that’s basically false.

    It was the fundamental factors driving the electorate that led to one candidate winning or losing. John Kerry, according to the political consultants, was almost certainly going to lose that election anyway, given the makeup of the race, being up against an incumbent, the economy doing how it was doing.

    And LBJ almost certainly would have won that election without the “Daisy” ad.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Did you come away with a sense of what tactics can work and which ones are increasingly not shown to be effective?

    MOLLY BALL: You do see an increasing emphasis on field organizing, as opposed to advertising. You see this with labor and with particularly Democratic presidential campaigns.

    And there is a much more conclusive evidence in the political science literature that this kind of thing actually works. The Obama campaign really pioneered this model of intensive field organizing, hundreds of campaign offices all over the country. But you need a candidate who’s compelling enough to attract a lot of volunteers to make an effort like that work. You can’t just pay for it all.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To what extent are these consultants doing this to make money? How much do they really care about what happens in the political process? Are they committed to a particular ideology?

    MOLLY BALL: Well, I attended the convention of the American Association of Political Consultants. And the consultants will tell you that they are in this because they want to make the world a better place.

    Most of them only work for one side. They’re either a Democratic consultant or a Republican consultant. And so they’re trying to advance this vision of the world, trying to achieve changes in policy by helping candidates get elected.

    But they will admit they also have to make a living.

    MAN: It’s me, candidate for president.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: At this conference you covered, they showed a generic political ad. Talk about what was in that ad and what the reaction was.

    MOLLY BALL: This was a pretty incredible video. It was completely generic. There’s a sort of generic white man walking through a generic field, and there’s images of American flags, welders in a factory, all of the things that might come to mind when you imagine a generic political ad.

    And the message it was sending was, these candidates are just someone that the consultant sticks in there to read the script, and they could all pretty much be saying the same thing. They’re all pretty much interchangeable.

    MAN: I’m a candidate for president, and I endorse this message.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which is enough to make one pretty cynical about this.

    MOLLY BALL: I think it is.

    And I think that this actually goes some way to explaining the appeal of Donald Trump to so many voters. He is not someone who seems like someone is managing him, to put it lightly. He seems utterly authentic in a way that is frequently offensive, but he comes across as unfiltered.

    And I think, in some ways, the attraction of a candidate like that is, in part, voters’ reaction to the influence of consultants and how choreographed and how stale and how totally staged and scripted so much of our political process has come to feel, because it has become so homogenized by the influence of consulting.

    The post Do politicians get their money’s worth from their consultants? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Smoke rises from oil wells, set ablaze by Islamic State militants before fleeing the oil-producing region of Qayyara, Iraq, November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani - RTX2RCFJ

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: As we reported earlier, Iraqi troops crossed the city limits of the ISIS-held city of Mosul today. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the militants two choices are — quote — “surrender or die.”

    Iraqi special forces fought into the city’s eastern outskirts at Gogjali. The road there has been long and dangerous.

    Special correspondent Christopher Livesay was there as the troops moved in. And he filed this report.

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: This is the road to Mosul, littered with the scorched debris of ISIS in retreat. But they are not going quietly. The sky is black with smoke billowing from the oil fields ISIS has set ablaze. The terror group held this territory for more than two years, and, in that time, they built an elaborate industry to manufacture IEDs and suicide car bombs.

    Only now can they see that up close.

    This is a suicide car that they were in the process of packing with TNT, but, apparently, they didn’t have enough time before the invasion started. So, they had to run out. But it’s still packed with explosives.

    The suicide car bomber appeared to have gotten away and set off the fighting this morning in Gogjali, a neighborhood in the outskirts of Mosul, near an army Iraq roadblock.

    And these soldiers with a .50-caliber machine gun?

    MAN: Machine gun?

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: They were able to stop him.

    But the driver was still able to detonate his vehicle. His body is now covered by debris, his vehicle lodged in the roadblock. The forces moving on ISIS territory are varied, including Shia militias backed by Iran and security forces from the Kurdish region known as Peshmerga.

    But it’s the Iraq army that is leading the charge in Mosul proper. By midday, the ISIS side of the battlefront was still for a moment. And these terrified civilians saw their chance to flee the Islamic State after two years of captivity. They are the lucky ones. Reports are mounting of ISIS rounding up locals by the thousands to use as human shields inside Mosul.

    One mother didn’t even have time to stop and give her name.

    WOMAN (through translator): The last time we tried to run away, they shot at us. This time, we had to stay very low, so they couldn’t hit us. Today was the first chance that we had.

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: We found this 20-year-old shepherd fleeing east with his flock, searching for shelter in hastily built refugee camps. He said ISIS wouldn’t allow him to attend school and punished him for breaking strict Islamic dress codes.

    MAN (through translator): I spent five days in jail for wearing long pants. They beat me in there, lashed me. Now I know I’m in a safe place, thank God.

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: But the relief is bittersweet. He had to leave behind his parents, brothers and sisters. Just when the coast looked clear, ISIS proved it wasn’t giving up without a fight.

    (GUNFIRE)

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: Gunfire cracks all around. At least one Iraqi soldier is shot dead. But Iraqi special forces are quick to rally and return fire on virtually every building lining this road that leads to the heart of Mosul.

    MAN (through translator): We are waiting to go inside the city of Mosul. Mosul is our land. We will enter in three or four days. God willing, we will fly our flag on the city.

    CHRISTOPHER LIVESAY: But the violence shows no signs of ceasing, as troops move deeper into Mosul, and there is no telling how long the city’s total liberation will take.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Christopher Livesay in Gogjali, Iraq.

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    Students exit a bus as they arrive at Venice High School in Los Angeles, California December 16, 2015. Classes resume today in Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the United States,  after they were closed on Tuesday after officials reported receiving an unspecified threat to the district and ordered a search of all schools in the city. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn - RTX1YZF0

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now let’s turn to an election story at the state level.

    There are important ballot initiatives all around the country. Tonight, we look at one of those battles, over bilingual education in California.

    More than 9 percent of all students in the United States don’t speak English fluently. They struggle more in school, trailing behind in every academic measure and at every grade. In California, that’s true for nearly one in every four children, or almost 1.5 million kids.

    Special correspondent Kavitha Cardoza with our partner Education Week visited California, where voters will soon decide how to best teach these children.

    It’s part of our weekly series Making the Grade.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: At a farmers market in San Francisco, signs of multiculturalism are everywhere, a good place to convince citizens to vote in favor of allowing bilingual education in California schools.

    SHELLY SPIEGEL-COLEMAN, Executive Director, Californians Together: Hi. We’re here with information about Proposition 58 that’s going to be on the ballot in November. What Proposition 58 will do will really put the decision-making back into the hands of the people closest to the students, the parents and the schools.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Almost 20 years ago, Californians overwhelmingly voted in favor of doing exactly the opposite, voting for a proposition which required students who didn’t speak English fluently to be taught only in English. Most bilingual programs closed.

    A Silicon Valley software developer was the architect of the successful English-only proposition back then. Ron Unz remains opposed today.

    You’re not a parent or a teacher or a researcher. How did this become your issue?

    RON UNZ, Chairman, English for the Children: Well, I come from a little bit of an immigrant background myself, in that my mother was born in Los Angeles, but grew up not speaking a word of English. She learned English very quickly and easily when she started kindergarten. And that really was the same case with many other people she knew.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Unz says learning English quickly is key to assimilating in the U.S.

    RON UNZ: Bilingual education doesn’t work now. It’s never worked in the past. And despite its advocates’ extremism ideological commitment to that policy, it’s just totally unsuccessful.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: California State Senator Ricardo Lara agrees that learning English is key. He disagrees on how to get there. Among his five siblings, he and his sister did well in an English-only environment. His other three siblings struggled, until they switched to bilingual schools. Then they began to excel academically.

    RICARDO LARA (D), California State Senator: Kids learn differently, and we all know that that’s a fact now. So why are we going to have a one cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to learning English in California, which is one of the most diverse states?

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: State senator Lara is sponsoring Proposition 58, which will make it easier for local school districts to expand bilingual education.

    He says it’s part of a broader cultural shift in the past 20 years. Globalization has made knowing more than one language a benefit, rather than a burden.

    Adelante Spanish Immersion School saw the benefit 20 years ago. They managed to keep their bilingual programs intact. Principal Christine Hiltbrand says much of the demand is being driven by middle-class, educated parents.

    CHRISTINE HILTBRAND, Principal, Adelante Spanish Immersion School: We had about 100 kids on the wait-list. And the district, because of that popularity, has opened a second Spanish immersion school. And that’s full, too.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Their method is called dual-language immersion. Half the student body speaks English at home, half speak Spanish. In early years, children here spend most of their time learning all their subjects in Spanish. Gradually more classes are taught in English, until the fourth grade, when they spend exactly half the time in each language.

    Learning a second language was hard at first, but Arianna Baca says it gets easier.

    ARIANNA BACA, 5th Grade Student: And then I’m like, oh, so now it’s English time, and now I speak in English. And my brain just switches off.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Children say knowing two languages is useful, even beyond school.

    ANDREW TINSON, 5th Grade Student: Sometimes, I use Spanish when I go to, like, a market because, sometimes people at the market, they speak Spanish. And, also, I went to Spain, and so everybody there speaks Spanish, so it was very useful.

    MARVIN GARRIDO, 5th Grade Student: My mom works cleaning houses, and sometimes she wants to, like, send messages to her boss to clean the house. Sometimes, she wants me to help her to put what to say and stuff like that.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Laurie Olsen is a bilingual advocate.

    LAURIE OLSEN, Bilingual Education Advocate: Proficiency in two or more languages is important. It’s a skill. It’s a high-level skill. We as a society need people who can be the firefighters and the service providers and the doctors and the diplomats that have the ability to speak across languages and communities.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: There’s a broad coalition in favor of giving school districts the option of bilingual education. But critics like Ron Unz remain unconvinced.

    RON UNZ: And I think it would be very ridiculous for the state to consider moving back to the old Spanish almost-only system, or so-called bilingual education.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: He points out, after the English-only proposition passed, test scores went up.

    But that’s only half the story. Though there was an initial bump, when researchers followed these children over time, they found, by middle school, those in English-only classes struggled, because it’s hard to keep up with, say, history or science if you don’t fully understand what’s being said. Only those in bilingual classes continued to do well in school.

    How does Adelante stack up? Student scores are seven points higher in reading than the state average, and 13 points higher in math. And by fifth grade, children are fully bilingual.

    Patricia Gandara is a researcher with the University of California Los Angeles.

    PATRICIA GANDARA, University of California Los Angeles: Because we now know definitively that there are huge advantages, advantages in employment, advantages — social advantages, psychological advantages. There are — and cognitive advantages.

    It just seems to me to be such a shame that we are an immigrant country. We are blessed with this richness of languages. And to not take advantage of that, to not let our kids have that opportunity seems to me just a tremendous waste, a tremendous waste of resources.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: Recent polling in California suggests voters support more bilingual programs. Spiegel-Coleman says, 20 years ago, attitudes were different.

    SHELLY SPIEGEL-COLEMAN: We would’ve gotten dirty looks. We would’ve been insulted. People would have said things to us like, that’s the Spanish-only program, they should be learning English.

    We didn’t get any of that today.

    KAVITHA CARDOZA: She’s hoping those changed attitudes will translate into votes this November.

    For the “PBS NewsHour” and Education Week, I’m Kavitha Cardoza reporting from San Francisco.

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    Photos of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton by Getty Images

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to the race for the White House.

    It’s November 1, and voters who haven’t already made a firm decision about what they’re going to do, or even if they’re going to show up at the polls, may be looking around for new information.

    Meanwhile, new reports have raised questions about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and his business dealings. And, of course, Hillary Clinton’s e-mail controversy continues to unfold, which raises the question: What is known and what isn’t about both candidates? And even if we learn more now, will it make a difference?

    We’re joined by Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today. And Karen Tumulty, she’s national political correspondent for The Washington Post.

    And welcome back to both of you. We’re glad to see you as the clock is ticking toward this election.

    Susan, this is an unconventional race. It’s been that way from the beginning. As we get close to Election Day, how much is known and not known about these two candidates? How different are they in that regard?

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: Well, let’s talk about Donald Trump. I think a lot of Americans feel like they know him pretty well because he’s been a reality TV star. They have seen him. They have seen stories about him and his three wives and his children.

    But he’s opaque in many of the ways in which we have usually expected presidential candidates to be transparent. One is on his medical history. He would be the oldest president ever elected in our history. We have not seen the traditional medical releases that we have seen from other presidential contenders in modern times.

    And on his finances, he’s the first major party nominee in 40 years not to release his tax returns. So there are things about charitable contributions or the degree to which he is in debt to Russian interests that we don’t know about.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Karen, there are big questions still out there, and we’re not likely to know the answers to all of these by next Tuesday.

    KAREN TUMULTY, The Washington Post: No, we’re not, but there have been news developments that have sort of spoken to the fact that we don’t have this information or that people have doubts about this information.

    Just today, The New York Times, getting another leak of some partial tax documents, did a big story where they did a deep dive into the tax law and did a story about how hard Donald Trump was pushing some of the tax breaks that were available, to the point where his own financial and legal advisers were warning him he was risking audits, using parts of the tax law that were later changed. Things that he did on his taxes would be illegal now.

    All of that I think, though, is going to be read by Democrats, by Clinton supporters as just reinforcing what they already thought they knew about, you know, his supposed malfeasance, and among his own supporters just further proof that he’s a financial genius.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, and, Susan, a story like that comes out, but it does remind us we don’t have the tax story. This took a lot of digging just to come up with a little bit of information from the 1990s.

    SUSAN PAGE: And about a very complicated equity-for-debt swap — don’t ask me to describe it any more than that — that Trump used.

    It’s almost, though, we haven’t flip side with Hillary Clinton, because, with her, we know a lot about her. She’s been in the public eye for decades. We know a lot about her finances. She’s been pretty public, reasonably open about her health.

    But her own people argue that you don’t know — we don’t know that much about her, that her personality that they describe as warm, as engaging is not something that I think a lot of voters have had a glimpse of. So, it’s like we — we can ask, what we do know and what we don’t know? It’s like there’s a reverse when you look at the two of them.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s right, Karen. We may know a lot about her, but — we have her tax returns, for example, but there is still the private Hillary Clinton.

    KAREN TUMULTY: And what has happened this week, this week was a week where the Clinton campaign had planned to make a big, aggressive, positive case for her and for her vision.

    And, instead, what they have found themselves involved in is yet another revival of the e-mail controversy, this one not involving Hillary Clinton herself directly, involving her aide Huma Abedin and the fact that some more of her e-mails were found in the most unfortunate place, which is her husband’s laptop, while he’s under investigation for sexting a minor.

    But what that does, we don’t know what’s in those e-mails, but what it does is stir up doubts, stir up reservations that people had already had about Hillary Clinton and also, Republicans are telling us, you know, reminding us this is what the next four to eight years are going to look like if she’s elected.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, Susan, the FBI, we noticed today, just surprisingly, out of the blue released documents about their investigation back in 19 — in 2000, when Bill Clinton was leaving office about pardoning Marc Rich, who was this controversial financier.

    Just — it’s as if everywhere you turn, there’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

    SUSAN PAGE: And there are long-term consequences to the very messy end we see to this campaign.

    The FBI, for instance, posting these documents, they say they were responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, and maybe that’s correct. But it feeds the impression that the FBI is becoming a very political institution as we get to the end of this election, that they have talked — the FBI director, James Comey, last Friday talked about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails in a way that is damaging for her, has really curtailed some of the momentum that we thought she had if we had been talking a week ago about this campaign, but not talking in the same public way about the investigations into Donald Trump and possible ties to Russian interests.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Karen, when you add it all up, when you look at these stories — and we haven’t even talked about the stories in the last few days about Donald Trump, connections to Russia, his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

    At this stage in a campaign, historically, how much are voters susceptible to either changing their mind, deciding not to vote? What is the information?

    KAREN TUMULTY: Well, first of all, at this point, over 20 million voters have already voted. So, their votes are in the bank.

    But of that small population of people who have not yet made up their minds between these two candidates or whether they are even going to vote at all, history would suggest that these people are particularly susceptible to swinging with news developments, swinging with, you know, what’s hitting them hour by hour.

    SUSAN PAGE: You know, the Trump supporters are pretty enthusiastic about him. And so even if you get the stories that we got today about Donald Trump, I think they’re unlikely to be discouraged.

    Hillary Clinton supporters, she has some very enthusiastic supporters, but she has some supporters that are not as enthusiastic about her. And that would include African-Americans, who are not as warm to her as they were Barack Obama, and also millennial voters, voters under 35, who historically have not been very reliable voters, but were an important part of the Obama coalition.

    I think the risk for Hillary Clinton isn’t that they will decide to vote for Donald Trump. It’s that they will decide not to vote at all.

    KAREN TUMULTY: And just as important, down the ballot, too. A week ago, it really looked like the Democrats were in very good shape to take back the Senate. Now some of those races are sort of getting closer, back in play, in part because the Republicans are making the argument, we need a Republican Congress there as a check on Hillary Clinton, not just on her agenda, but on her administration’s behavior.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s as if whether these news stories change anything or not, they can either raise or suppress people’s interest in this election and turning out.

    SUSAN PAGE: That’s right.

    And say these developments have kept Hillary Clinton from having the positive close that she thought she could have. That could also have long-term consequences in whether people feel like she has a mandate for issues that she talked about at the end, when people were finally going to the polls.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which is something we’re already starting to talk about, whoever wins this election, what happens afterwards? How much of a mandate do they have? How much support do they have in the country?

    Karen Tumulty with The Washington Post, Susan Page with USA Today, thank you so much.

    SUSAN PAGE: Thank you.

    KAREN TUMULTY: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In our election coverage online, we visit the suburbs, long a Republican stronghold, but now trending Democratic, and we explore what this transformation means for American politics. That’s at PBS.org/NewsHour.

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    Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan (C) talks to media outside his house in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES - RTX2RCRX

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news:  Iraqi troops battled to make headway on the eastern edge of Mosul, two years after being driven out.  The military said special forces advanced and took a state television building, despite fierce resistance from Islamic State fighters.  We will get a report from the front lines later in the program.

    In Pakistan, the opposition leader, Imran Khan, backed off today from his call for mass protests in Islamabad.  The demonstrations were meant to lock down the capital and force embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.  He’s under fire over his family’s offshore bank holdings.  Supporters rallied at Khan’s home today after Pakistan’s highest court said that it will look into Sharif’s finances.

    IMRAN KHAN, Opposition Leader, Pakistan (through translator):  Today, I was overjoyed that the Supreme Court decided Nawaz Sharif’s accountability will soon begin.  We have decided that tomorrow we will thank God and celebrate a day of thanks at Islamabad’s parade ground.  Tomorrow, God willing, we will gather a million people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  In recent days, police have used batons and tear gas to enforce a ban on rallies in Islamabad.

    The government of Turkey today rejected criticism from Europe over its crackdown on an opposition newspaper.  Police arrested 13 top staffers of the paper yesterday, and the U.S. and the European Union condemned the move.

    Today, the newspaper ran a defiant headline — quote — “We will not surrender.”  But the Turkish prime minister shrugged it all off in a televised address.

    BINALI YILDIRIM, Prime Minister, Turkey (through translator):  Today, somebody from the European Parliament says the detention of journalists from that newspaper is a red line.  Brother, we don’t care about your red line.  It’s the Turkish people who draw the red line.  What importance does your line have?

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The paper rejects government claims that its employees were — quote — “supporting terror” during last summer’s coup attempt.

    Back in this country, Philadelphia’s public transit workers went on strike after failing to reach a contract deal.  That brought bus, trolley, and subway service to a halt, affecting hundreds of thousands of riders.  Workers took to the picket lines to demand better pensions, health care and shift scheduling.  No new talks have been scheduled.

    And on Wall Street, stocks slipped over disappointing earnings and concerns about the presidential race.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 105 points to close at 18037.  The Nasdaq fell 35, and the S&P 500 slid 14.

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    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump goes to a Wawa gas station after a campaign event in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 1, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2RDWW

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    JUDY WOODRUFF:  We’re now within the last seven days, and some polls are tightening in the presidential race.

    With that in mind, the two major candidates hit each other hard today on policy and morality.

    Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  One week to go, three new elements today in Pennsylvania to the look and feel of Donald Trump’s sprint to Election Day.  His running mate, Mike Pence, was there, congressional supporters were there, and his address was all policy, especially health care, as he pounded away at Obamacare and its rising costs.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  When we win on November 8, and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare.  Have to do it.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    DONALD TRUMP:  I will ask Congress to convene a special session, so we can repeal and replace.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  Trump’s Keystone State visit is part of a final week push in states that voted twice for Barack Obama, including Wisconsin, where he is tonight.  And the campaign just announced new ad buys in usually dark blue Michigan and in New Mexico, which may be a late swing state.  Hillary Clinton is also airing new ads in both those states, and she’s getting back on the air in Colorado, where she had not advertised since July.

    Today, she was East in Florida, the biggest electoral jewel of all the battlegrounds.  And her focus?  Trump’s character.  She stumped with a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, who says Trump berated her for her weight.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  He thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  And Clinton’s campaign coupled that with a new anti-Trump TV ad.

    DONALD TRUMP:  A person who’s flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.

    QUESTION:  Do you treat women with respect?

    DONALD TRUMP:  I can’t say that either.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  All this as a flurry of new headlines swirled around the presidential race.  The New York Times reported that Trump, back in the 1990s, used a tax scheme that his own lawyers questioned to save tens of millions of dollars.

    NBC News reported the FBI is conducting a preliminary inquiry into Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, and his foreign business connections.  He was ousted from the campaign in August amid questions over possible ties to Russia.

    And CNBC was first to report that FBI Director James Comey had argued against naming Russia as the prime suspect in recent political hacking.  He argued it was too close to the election.

    Clinton’s campaign called that a double standard, given that Comey last week revealed the FBI is looking into more e-mails related to Clinton’s use of a private server.  Overall, a wild presidential contest is ending with a storm of news and battleground campaigning.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

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    LAS VEGAS — Nevada already has legal brothels, round-the-clock casinos and a coy catchphrase declaring that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” If voters approve, the state could soon add another vice in the form of recreational marijuana.

    A proposal on the Nov. 8 state ballot would legalize pot, and entrepreneurs hope its passage could someday allow the drug at Las Vegas’ glamorous nightclubs and perhaps provide the framework for a future Amsterdam-style cannabis district.

    “I really think this would be the third-largest market in the country,” said Derek Peterson, whose company operates marijuana dispensaries called Blum. He predicts that only California and New York would offer a bigger customer base than Las Vegas and its 42 million tourists a year. “I think it should be able to fit in really well with the whole dayclub/nightclub thing.”

    Nevada has allowed medical marijuana since 2000, and Peterson sees recreational pot as an alternative for visitors tired of cocktails that can top $15 apiece and inflict hangovers. But before waitresses begin delivering high-grade marijuana at clubs along the Las Vegas Strip, weed proponents will have to win over not just voters, who narrowly support the initiative in polls, but a risk-averse casino industry.

    The Nevada Resort Association came out against the measure, pointing to an opinion from gambling regulators that casino owners should avoid the marijuana industry because the substance remains illegal under federal law. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson has bankrolled most of the opposition, pouring $2 million of his fortune into a campaign that raises the possibility that small children could become intoxicated from candy-like marijuana edibles.

    In spite of its libertine reputation, the rigorously regulated casino industry is known to err on the conservative side to avoid scandalizing the middle-aged tourists who are its bread and butter.

    “I don’t know that this is a game changer in terms of tourism,” Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said of marijuana’s potential. “We’re really known for other things. You may attract people or turn them off.”

    The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which promotes Sin City’s amenities to the world, is neutral on the issue.

    There’s no solid state-sponsored research on how legal recreational marijuana has affected tourism in places that have legalized it, although both sides point to Colorado to make their case.

    Pro-marijuana interests cite a state study that found Colorado set an all-time tourism record in 2015, capping a fifth year of growth. It’s unclear how much of that is due to weed, and how much can be chalked up to other factors, such as good snow in recent years relative to competing ski states.

    Marijuana opponents refer to a report from the Visit Denver tourism bureau that logged increasing complaints about panhandling and open marijuana consumption in the city’s downtown corridor.

    “Denver is losing visitors and valuable convention business as a result of these overall safety (or perception of safety) issues,” the report said. “We fear not being able to brand Denver away from this growing reputation.”

    Nevada’s ballot initiative would not allow municipalities to put blanket bans on marijuana, as Colorado does. But it would bar consumption in buildings that are open to the public and permit local governments to restrict the locations of marijuana dispensaries and related businesses. It effectively blocks people from growing their own by banning the practice within 25 miles of a licensed marijuana store.

    Some of those provisions could be changed three years after passage. But even political leaders who are open to legalization say the embrace will not be immediate if voters approve the measure.

    “I think it will be as much of a challenge for us as it will be a boon for us, because there’s no place in the world like Vegas,” said Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, whose urban district includes the Strip. “I think it’s going to take a while to work it out.”

    Meanwhile, a Nevada lawmaker who has always pushed the envelope on marijuana says he’s requested a bill next spring that would allow Amsterdam-style pot coffeeshops and other places dedicated to public consumption. Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom envisions a pedestrian-centric outdoor entertainment district focused on giving visitors a new kind of “only-in-Vegas” experience centered around pot.

    “It’s somewhere you do things you wouldn’t normally do,” said Segerblom, who’s so supportive of marijuana in Nevada that he sponsored a failed bill in 2015 to allow sick dogs and cats to use it. “Have fun, party, do things you wouldn’t do at home. Take a picture and brag about it.”

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    Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    BISMARCK, N.D. — President Barack Obama says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline can be rerouted in southern North Dakota to alleviate the concerns of American Indians.

    Obama told the online news outlet NowThis that his administration is monitoring the situation closely but will “let it play out for several more weeks.”

    “As a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans, and I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline,” Obama said an interview Tuesday.

    The White House said the corps was exploring a range of options that would address concerns raised by tribal officials and others. Separately, the Army, the Justice Department and the Interior Department are discussing with tribal governments how to prevent future disputes with the federal government over public works projects, according to the White House.

    The 1,200 mile, $3.8 billion pipeline will carry oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point at Patoka, Illinois. It will skirt the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

    The tribe objects to the project, saying it could threaten drinking water and destroy sacred sites. The tribe has sued federal regulators for approving permits at more than 200 water crossings.

    Protests that have included clashes with police and pipeline security also have gone on for several months in North Dakota, where hundreds and at times thousands of people have set up a large camp on corps land. More than 400 protesters have been arrested since August. No serious injuries have been reported.

    Obama called it “a challenging situation.”

    “There’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful, and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint,” he said. “I want to make sure that as everybody is exercising their constitutional rights to be heard, that both sides are refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.”

    The 1,200-mile pipeline is largely complete outside of North Dakota. The federal government in September ordered a temporary halt to construction on corps land around and underneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in the Dakotas. The corps is reviewing its permitting of the project, but has given no timetable for a decision.

    The Justice Department has asked pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily stop construction within 20 miles of the lake, but construction has continued on private land.

    Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.

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    Photo via Getty Images

    Manufacturing is still flourishing, even as machines do increasing amounts of work. Photo via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump blames Mexico and China for stealing millions of jobs from the United States.

    He might want to bash the robots instead.

    Despite the Republican presidential nominee’s charge that “we don’t make anything anymore,” manufacturing is still flourishing in America. Problem is, factories don’t need as many people as they used to because machines now do so much of the work.

    America has lost more than 7 million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. Yet American factory production, minus raw materials and some other costs, more than doubled over the same span to $1.91 trillion last year, according to the Commerce Department, which uses 2009 dollars to adjust for inflation. That’s a notch below the record set on the eve of the Great Recession in 2007. And it makes U.S. manufacturers No. 2 in the world behind China.

    Trump and other critics are right that trade has claimed some American factory jobs, especially after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 and gained easier access to the U.S. market. And industries that have relied heavily on labor — like textile and furniture manufacturing — have lost jobs and production to low-wage foreign competition. U.S. textile production, for instance, is down 46 percent since 2000. And over that time, the textile industry has shed 366,000, or 62 percent, of its jobs in the United States.

    But research shows that the automation of U.S. factories is a much bigger factor than foreign trade in the loss of factory jobs. A study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for just 13 percent of America’s lost factory jobs. The vast majority of the lost jobs — 88 percent — were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.

    “We’re making more with fewer people,” says Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. think tank.

    [Watch Video]

    General Motors, for instance, now employs barely a third of the 600,000 workers it had in the 1970s. Yet it churns out more cars and trucks than ever.

    Or look at production of steel and other primary metals. Since 1997, the United States has lost 265,000 jobs in the production of primary metals — a 42 percent plunge — at a time when such production in the U.S. has surged 38 percent.

    Allan Collard-Wexler of Duke University and Jan De Loecker of Princeton University found last year that America didn’t lose most steel jobs to foreign competition or faltering sales. Steel jobs vanished because of the rise of a new technology: Super-efficient mini-mills that make steel largely from scrap metal.

    The robot revolution is just beginning.

    The Boston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow 10 percent a year in the 25-biggest export nations through 2025, up from 2 or 3 percent growth in recent years.

    The economics of robotics are hard to argue with. When products are replaced or updated, robots can be reprogrammed far faster and more easily than people can be retrained.

    And the costs are dropping: Owning and operating a robotic spot welder cost an average $182,000 in 2005 and $133,000 in 2014 and will likely run $103,000 by 2025, Boston Consulting says. Robots will shrink labor costs 22 percent in the United States, 25 percent in Japan and 33 percent in South Korea, the firm estimates.

    CEO Ronald De Feo is overseeing a turnaround at Kennametal, a Pittsburgh-based industrial materials company. The effort includes investing $200 million to $300 million to modernize Kennametal’s factories while cutting 1,000 of 12,000 jobs. Automation is claiming some of those jobs and will claim more in the future, De Feo says.

    “What we want to do is automate and let attrition” reduce the workforce, he says.

    Visiting a Kennametal plant in Germany, De Feo found workers packing items by hand. He ordered $10 million in machinery to automate the process in Germany and North America.

    That move, he says, will produce “better quality at lower cost” and “likely result in a combination of job cuts and reassignments.”

    But the rise of the machines offers an upside to some American workers: The increased use of robots — combined with higher labor costs in China and other developing countries — has reduced the incentive for companies to chase low-wage labor around the world.

    Multinational companies are also rethinking how they spread production across the globe in the 1990s and 2000s, when they tended to manufacture components in different countries and then assemble a product at a plant in China or other low-wage country. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which disrupted shipments of auto parts, and the bankruptcy of the South Korean shipping line Hanjin Shipping, which stranded cargo in ports, exposed the risk of relying on far-flung supply lines.

    “If your supply chain gets interrupted and your raw materials are coming from offshore, all of a sudden shelves are empty and you can’t sell product,” says Thomas Caudle, president of the North Carolina-based textile company Unifi.

    So companies have been returning to the United States, capitalizing on the savings provided by robots, cheap energy and the chance to be closer to customers.

    “They don’t have all their eggs in that Asian basket anymore,” Caudle says.

    Over the past six years, Unifi has added about 200 jobs, bringing the total to over 1,100, at its automated factory in Yadkinville, North Carolina, where recycled plastic bottles are converted into Repreve yarn. Unmanned carts crisscross the factory floor, retrieving packages of yarn with mechanical arms — work once done by people.

    In a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte, global manufacturing executives predicted that that the United States — now No. 2 — will overtake China as the most competitive country in manufacturing by 2020. (Competitiveness is measured by such factors as costs, productivity and the protection of intellectual property.)

    The Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit that lobbies manufacturers to return jobs to the United States, says America was losing an average of 220,000 net jobs a year to other countries a decade ago. Now, the number being moved abroad is roughly offset by the number that are coming back or being created by foreign investment.

    Harold Sirkin, senior partner at Boston Consulting, says the global scramble by companies for cheap labor is ending.

    “When I hear that (foreigners) are taking all our jobs — the answer is, they’re not,” he says.

    The post Mexico taking U.S. factory jobs? Blame robots instead appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Voters walk to a polling precinct on primary day in Florida for the U.S. presidential election in Boca Raton, Florida March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper - RTSAI0H

    Voters walk to a polling precinct on primary day in Florida for the U.S. presidential election in Boca Raton, Florida March 15, 2016. Photo by Joe Skipper/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Reports of long lines for early voting persuaded Darlene Hollywood — she’s giving her 13 employees at Hollywood Public Relations the morning of Election Day off.

    “I don’t want people to feel they have to make a choice of, ‘I need to get to the office’ or ‘I can participate in my civic duty,'” says Hollywood, whose firm is based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

    Small business owners who want to make it easy for their staffers to vote are giving them flex time, balloting breaks, or, like Hollywood, opening late. Some, joining a list of companies of all sizes that includes giants like General Motors and Ford, will be closed for the whole day. Owners say they want to encourage everyone to vote — some saying the intense emotions in the presidential race this year make it particularly significant and others that they feel it’s important to be involved in what happens in their country, state and city.

    Many states have laws requiring employers to give workers time off to vote, and some of those states require that employees be paid if they have to vote during working hours. There is no federal law granting workers the right to voting time off. But many owners aren’t motivated strictly by the law.

    On past Election Days, Brenda Jones Barwick saw employees hurrying to get their work done at the end of the day and hoping they’d still have time to vote.

    “People were rushing out of here at 6:30 trying to get in line before the polls closed at 7,” says Barwick, owner of Jones Public Relations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    This year, she’s decided that neither her 20 staffers nor the company itself needs a chaotic day. So she won’t open the office until 10 a.m. on Election Day. Jones plans to email clients to let them know and hopes the idea spreads: “I’m encouraging other companies to do the same.”

    [Watch Video]

    After giving staffers time during the day to vote in past elections, Dan Golden decided this year to close his Chicago-based internet advertising firm, Be Found Online. He wants to be sure that none of his 50 employees has any excuse not to vote, including those who are sounding disaffected in this emotionally charged election year.

    “I’m hoping to influence the number of employees who weren’t going to bother,” says Golden, the company’s president.

    Golden, who wants other companies to give workers voting time off, is campaigning via a website, www.employersforvto.org . He’d also like to see Election Day made a national holiday.

    “The best we can do is empower our employees to do what’s right and make it easier for them, so work isn’t an excuse,” he says.

    Some bosses are letting employees decide when to take time off to vote, even if it’s in the middle of the day.

    “Regardless of what you are doing, feel free to get up and go vote — it’s your right,” Chris Pontine has told the two employees of his Fort Gratiot, Michigan-based company, Creating a Website Today. He calls his policy, which he’s had since he started his company in 2012, a simple approach.

    With early voting underway in Idaho, Jessica Flynn has told her 12 staffers they can take the time to vote on any day, not just Nov. 8.

    “They can do it this afternoon or on Election Day,” says Flynn, CEO of Red Sky, a communications strategy firm based in Boise. “Whenever they need to, whenever they want to.”

    She wants them to be involved, concerned voters.

    “I see it as part of our company’s mission to help grow and support engaged, curious and knowledgeable citizens of the world,” she says.

    Joe Laskowski, managing partner at Higher Ed Growth in Tempe, Arizona, recalls past voting that had people in line for hours waiting to cast their ballots. He doesn’t want employees at the firm, which helps colleges form their marketing strategies, to feel under pressure.

    “We don’t care if you’re late or take a long lunch,” Laskowski says, “just get it done to have a voice.”

    The post Get out and vote, small business owners tell employees appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by kettenkarussell

    The FDA is gathering information on the amount of Nutella that constitutes a reasonable serving size. Photo by kettenkarussell

    The Food and Drug Administration is asking the public to reflect on an important health question: How much Nutella do you actually eat?

    The agency is gathering information on the amount of Nutella that constitutes a reasonable serving size at the behest of Ferrero, the maker of the spread. Ferrero has been petitioning the FDA for the past two years to put Nutella in the same regulatory class as jam or to establish an entirely new category for “nut cocoa-based spreads.”

    Currently, Nutella is classified as a dessert topping, like chocolate syrup. That means its labels get slapped with a serving size of 2 tablespoons. Each serving totals 200 calories — half of which are from fat — and packs 21 grams of sugar.

    But the Italian company said the classification is based on an outdated survey of 157 “primarily female” shoppers who said they largely used the product on ice cream. The survey was conducted in 1991.

    Ferrero’s lawyers cite data in the citizen petition sent to the FDA to rethink Nutella’s serving size. Photo by Hogan Lovells

    Ferrero’s lawyers cite data in the citizen petition sent to the FDA to rethink Nutella’s serving size. Photo by Hogan Lovells

    Now, Ferrero said 60 percent of Nutella consumers are slathering the product on toast. The company wants that serving size changed to 1 tablespoon, as is the case with jams and jellies (though similar products like peanut butter have 2-tablespoon servings).

    That change would come with the added benefit of making Nutella look as though it has fewer calories, as well as less sugar and fat, when customers take a quick glance at the nutrition label.

    “Consumers may falsely believe they should be applying two tablespoons of Nutella on their bread rather than the one tablespoon that is more customarily consumed,” Ferrero warned in its petition.

    The FDA said it recognizes the need for a sweet new category and is taking the first step by inviting public comment.

    Respondents have 60 days to count their spoonfuls.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Nov. 1, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post FDA to America: How much Nutella do you eat? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Cassaiya Oligario (C) waits as her mother Cassandra and older sister Eleahna vote in the U.S. presidential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York, U.S. on November 6, 2012.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo - RTSIEX3

    Cassaiya Oligario, center, waits as her mother Cassandra and older sister Eleahna vote in the U.S. presidential election at a displaced polling center in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York, U.S. on November 6, 2012. Photo by Brendan McDermid/File Photo/Reuters

    It has been 589 days since this presidential campaign began. We have seven full days, we hope, until it’s over.

    Here’s a guide to help us all survive this one last week with a maximum of sanity and a minimum of pain.

    Who and what will decide this election?

    Some point to white women. Others look to Hispanics. We look at the decisive factors next Tuesday a little differently. We see three things that might be decisive.

    One is a question of where, not who. The suburbs may control this election. That’s where population is growing, as rural America is contracting. And suburban voters represent a mixed political group: often educated, religious and tuned in to the economy and education both.

    Men. Women have represented a majority of the vote since 1984 and also seem to represent a disproportionate amount of undecided voters this year. So this next point may seem counterintuitive. But we have noticed that in the past week, polls in some key states, like Nevada, have shown men changing their minds in large numbers. It’s a gender shift that could matter.

    Donald Trump and Voter Mobility. Trump himself could remain one of the largest factors in this election, especially if he diverts from the very focused message he had in Pennsylvania today. But an equal factor, of course, is voter turnout. Will the Clinton campaign wow in the way the Obama team did? If so you could add 4-6 points to the polls. If not, it could be close. Other question: Will Trump suppress her voters and get his out?

    For the undecided and those who love them

    Still wondering how to vote and if to vote? We investigated advice from a variety of sources: Confucius, business success Richard Branson and even self-help guru Tony Robbins. Here are a few rules and questions that might help:

    • Which candidate would you want as your boss? Or coworker? Forget the “get a beer” question. We are not voting for a best friend. And neither Trump nor Clinton are big drinkers.
    • What do you want for the country in the long run? Presidents affect not just short-term policy. They all shift the long-term direction of the country.
    • Try to weigh emotion and reason. Yes, you may *hate,* *really hate,* a certain candidate, but take a step back and try to think past that. This also may help lower your blood pressure.
    • Be virtuous, wise and fair. Confucius cherished all three strengths. In this election, voter virtue may mean a simple idea: Go with your gut and try not to be influenced too heavily by ads and mail.
    • Take a day (or four or five) off from thinking about this. You know these candidates. You have the information you need. Give your brain a break and then walk in and do what you think is best.
    [Watch Video]

    Let’s step away from the election a minute

    These are things we hope add to your general happiness.

    What might affect people the most quickly

    The races for president and Congress get the most attention. But the most direct decisions voters make, and the decisions which may affect them most directly, are on ballot measures. Our Ellis Kim put together this cheat sheet for you.

    There are 163 ballot measures being considered this election cycle. But five issues stand out across the country.

    • Marijuana legalization: Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts– could legalize recreational marijuana this year, with four other states mulling over legalizing medical pot.
    • Gun control: Four states have gun-related measures on the ballot this year. Maine and Nevada will vote on background checks; Washington will vote on a provision allowing courts to issue “extreme risk protection” orders that would block certain individuals from possessing firearms; and California, the country’s most gun-restrictive state, is considering a ballot measure that would limit ammunition and ban high-capacity magazines.
    • Minimum wage: Maine, Arizona, Colorado and Washington are all considering gradual increases to their state minimum wages. One state, South Dakota, will vote on lowering the wage floor for some teenage workers.
    • Death penalty: In California, liberal activists and Silicon Valley executives are squaring off against pro-death penalty law enforcement groups, as the state considers two competing measures over capital punishment. One would repeal the death penalty, and the other would accelerate the process for executions. Meanwhile, Nebraskans are voting on whether to reinstate the practice, while Oklahomans will consider a measure that would double down on it.
    • Health care (in Colorado): OK, so this one really only applies to Colorado, where mail-in balloting is already underway. But next week, Coloradans will weigh in on whether to adopt ColoradoCare, what could be the country’s first single-payer healthcare plan. Worth watching.

    We need a laugh

    We want your best 2016 jokes. Anything political, and anything elections-related especially. Email us at NewsHourPolitics@newshour.org with the subject line “2016 jokes.” And no, “this election” or “candidate name here” will not be accepted as jokes in of themselves. We expect our readers to be at least more clever than that.

    Emergency kit for presidential candidates

    To all candidates out there. We know you can win. We know you are sure you will win. But just in case you do not win, we have something for you. Here’s a guide to the history of the concession speech, reflecting in particular on this year’s dynamics.

    Ellis Kim and Daniel Bush contributed reporting.

    The post Your 2016 election survival guide appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Baylor University head coach Art Briles reacts against the University of Oklahoma in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas November 19, 2011.   REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL) - RTR2U893

    Baylor University head coach Art Briles reacts against the University of Oklahoma in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, on Nov. 19, 2011. Photo by Mike Stone/Reuters

    A “60 Minutes Sports” report on Tuesday uncovered more details of the Baylor University sexual assault case, including an alleged history of Baylor campus police and Waco authorities burying reports of sexual violence.

    After Baylor’s then-Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, attempted to obtain Waco police reports involving alleged sexual assaults on students, she received an email from a university vice president informing her that the Waco police “do not want the actual police reports turned over to Title IX,” according to the “60 Minutes Sports” report.

    Senior Vice President of Operations Reagan Ramsower, who is in charge of public safety at Baylor, told “60 Minutes Sports” that the campus police failed to report alleged sexual assaults.

    In reference to an incident of sexual assault, Ramsower said, “There was a police report; I suppose it stayed with the police department. It never came out of the police department. That was a significant failure to respond by our police department, there’s no doubt about it,” CBS News reported.

    While the most violent cases appeared to involve football players, sexual assault has pervaded the Baylor community, according to the “60 Minutes Sports” report.

    When asked how many women stepped into her office and alleged sexual violence, Crawford said, “hundreds.”

    Report spells out institutional failures at Baylor

    Previously unreported details of the Baylor University sexual assault scandal involving the school’s football players were revealed in a Wall Street Journal report published on Friday.

    The report was compiled from interviews with Baylor University regents who indicated that the scope of the scandal “involved 17 women who reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes, since 2011.”

    Following an investigation by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, Baylor fired football coach Art Briles in May. In at least one case, according to the regents, Briles knew about an alleged incident and did not alert police, the school’s judicial affairs staff or the Title IX office responsible for reacting to such cases.

    Baylor did not release the full results of the Pepper Hamilton investigation from May, but published a summary of the findings.

    “You should know, while the lawyers from Pepper Hamilton gave presentations to the Board of Regents and some administrators about their findings, they never created or delivered a written report,” Baylor Interim President Garland said in a statement.

    But the summary spelled out institutional corruption and individual failures.

    According to Pepper Hamilton’s summary, university administrators took actions that “directly discouraged complainants from reporting” allegations of sexual assault and that in one case “those actions constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”

    Ernest Cannon, Art Briles’ lawyer, said Briles never discouraged any survivors from filing claims and that Baylor “appeared to be violating a nondisparagement clause” by discussing Briles’ role in the scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

    The private Baptist university prohibits alcohol and premarital sex in the student code of conduct. Pepper Hamilton’s summary suggested that Baylor’s strict code may have contributed to the problem by creating a hostile environment for sexual assault victims based on their alcohol consumption and sexual activity.

    “Perceived judgmental responses by administrators based on a complainant’s alcohol or other drug use or prior consensual sexual activity also discouraged reporting [sexual violence],” the summary read.

    J. Cary Gray, one of the regents interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, suggested that the health of the football program was more highly prized than the safety of the students.

    “There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values . . . we did not have a caring community when it came to these women who reported that they were assaulted. And that is not OK.”

    In a statement to KWTX-News 10 after his termination, Briles said that in his 38-year coaching career, “I have certainly made mistakes and, in hindsight, I would have done certain things differently.”

    Fallout at Baylor

    Baylor’s former Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, resigned in October and alleged that university officials hindered her efforts to address what she said was a sexual assault issue for the whole campus, not just football players, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Crawford’s complaint. Baylor said in statement that it will cooperate.

    Former Baylor University President Ken Starr was demoted to chancellor after the Pepper Hamilton investigation and then split from the school in August in a “mutually agreed separation.”

    Baylor posted a new web page titled “The Truth” which Garland said is meant to inform the Baylor community about the sexual assault scandal and the university’s efforts to “learn from our mistakes” and progress as an institution.

    The web page contains interviews, articles, letters and a statement from Garland. It also highlights the school’s $4.3 million investment in its Title IX office since November 2014.

    “That Baylor did not respond as a caring Christian community to those who were hurt grieves all of us – regents, administrators, faculty and staff. On behalf of everyone at Baylor, I want to apologize again to the victims and their families. I will do all I can to ensure this never happens again,” Garland said in a statement.

    The post Baylor and Waco police buried reports of sexual assaults, report says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Flickr user Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine

    A judge ruled that disputes between Airbnb users and owners must be decided in arbitration. Photo by Flickr user Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine

    A lawsuit against Airbnb on racial discrimination cannot be decided by a jury trial, effectively blocking the possibility of a class-action lawsuit, a judge ruled Tuesday.

    The U.S. district court judge said the company’s arbitration policy, to which users must agree to in its Terms of Service, requires all disputes between user and owner be decided in arbitration, rather than in a court of one’s peers.

    “Mutual arbitration provisions in electronic contracts — so long as their existence is made reasonably known to customers — are enforceable, in commercial disputes and discrimination cases alike,” U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper wrote.

    Gregory Selden, who is African-American, is at the center of the case. Selden alleged that when trying to rent a room in Philadelphia using Airbnb, the host denied him because of his race. Selden’s profile contained his name and picture.

    After he was rejected, Selden created a fake account using the picture of a white person, and the host agreed to rent him the room, according to court documents.

    [Watch Video]

    Short-term housing rental industry giant Airbnb now lists more than 1 million rooms available in 192 countries. The platform’s largest market is in New York City, with more than 25,000 listings per night, but it’s also where the debate over how to regulate short-term rentals is the most contentious. In light of a new report by the NY Attorney General that says nearly three-quarters of Airbnb’s listings in the city are technically illegal, the city is cracking down. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

    Selden sued Airbnb in May, claiming racial discrimination against him and other African-American users with similar grievances against the company. Supporters of Selden’s claim took to social media after he filed his suit, using #AirbnbWhileBlack to share their experiences with discrimination using the service.

    Selden plans to appeal the judge’s decision to uphold the arbitration process, which his lawyer said gives Airbnb an unfair advantage.

    “By placing Mr. Selden’s claims into arbitration, a consumer’s constitutional right to a jury trial and access to the courts of law continues to be whittled down gradually but surely,” attorney Ikechukwu Emejuru said in a statement.

    In September, Airbnb responded to complaints of racial bias, apologizing for its slow response to discrimination accusations and putting out its own report detailing how it would make the service more inclusive.

    The company did not remove photographs from users’ profiles, but all users must now agree to the Airbnb “Community Commitment,” which forbids discrimination, while saying users are part of an “Airbnb community,” the Associated Press reported.

    This ruling comes at a time when other companies that rely on the gig economy are being accused of racial and gender discrimination. A study released last month asserted that drivers for ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft discriminate against users with “African-American-sounding names” and that drivers took women on longer, more expensive trips.

    The post Airbnb discrimination case cannot be tried by jury, judge rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Carnations and today's copies are seen in the newsroom of Cumhuriyet newspaper, an opposition secularist daily, in Istanbul, Turkey, November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2RBLF

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But first: It’s been more than three months since a coup sought to depose the Turkish president. The attempt failed quickly, but the crackdown in its aftermath continues, alarming many of Turkey’s allies.

    Readers have opened Turkey’s main opposition newspaper to find blank columns this week, a protest against jailing its editor in chief and a dozen staffers. Their arrests Monday were part of an ongoing purge against perceived opponents by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since a failed coup last July.

    On Tuesday, his prime minister brushed off European criticism.

    PRIME MINISTER BINALI YILDIRIM, Turkey (through translator): Today, somebody from the European Parliament says the detention of journalists from that newspaper is a red line. Brother, we don’t care about your red line. It’s the people who draw the red line. What importance does your line have?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Across Turkey, some 170 outlets have been shuttered since July, leaving 2,500 journalists out of work. The U.S. State Department has raised its concerns repeatedly, as it did again Monday.

    JOHN KIRBY, State Department spokesman: Suppressing speech and opinion and the press doesn’t support the fight against terrorism and only encroaches on the fundamental freedoms that help ensure democracies remain strong.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But silencing Turkey’s media is only one facet of a crackdown on anyone suspected of supporting Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic cleric whom Erdogan accuses of fomenting the coup attempt. Gulen lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

    A staggering 100,000 civil servants have been fired, including 10,000 more just last weekend, and 37,000 people have been arrested. President Erdogan has even voiced support for reinstating the death penalty, though it would dash hopes for Turkey’s European Union membership bid.

    Meanwhile, as he consolidates his internal power, the Turkish leader is waging war along his borders. This week, Turkish tanks massed at Silopi, near the Iraqi frontier, to press the fight against the Kurdish separatist group known as the PKK. Southeastern Turkey is a largely Kurdish region, and the PKK maintains bases in Northern Iraq.

    In Ankara, the defense minister said there is — quote — “no obligation to wait for threats to rise.”

    FIKRI ISIK, Defense Minister, Turkey (through translator): We have important developments in the region. There is a serious struggle against terrorism inside Turkey and on the other side of the border. Turkey is in the position of making preparations for all kinds of possibilities.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And, in Syria, Turkish forces are looking to retake the city of al-Bab north of Aleppo from the Islamic State. Success would also bar the city to the Kurds, who hope to close a 45-mile gap between their enclaves and create a contiguous Kurdish zone along the Turkish frontier.

    Turkey also insists that Syrian Kurdish forces not be part of any campaign to retake the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa in Syria. All of this has strained relations with Washington. The Obama administration regards the Kurds as among its staunchest allies against ISIS.

    We take a closer look at this recent crackdown with Amberin Zaman. She is a Turkish journalist and author and serves as a fellow at the Wilson Center, a think tank in Washington.

    So, 10,000 more civil servants just in the past week that have been fired. Right after the coup, the government said this was to try and root out all the Gulenists at the time. Why now? Why is this happening?

    AMBERIN ZAMAN, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Well, as you pointed out, the government has justified these moves on the grounds that it’s weeding out the Gulenists, who they say have penetrated the entire government, the judiciary, the army, academia.

    But, at this point, when you look at the scale of this purge, you have more than 100,000 people now who have either lost their jobs or who are in jail, I think around 30,000-plus now in jail. And you look at the number of journalists also in jail, the number of media outlets, over 100, well over 100 now shuttered.

    It’s becoming very clear that this is just not about the Gulenists, but more an effort on the part of the government to stifle all dissenting voices.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, as these journalists and their publications are affected, is there even a vehicle for people to express dissent?

    AMBERIN ZAMAN: Very good question.

    One of the newspapers that was just sort of raided on Monday, Cumhuriyet, was pretty much the only opposition newspaper that was still around. And now it’s facing this court case. Fifteen journalists from the newspaper, including its managing editor, are now in prison.

    So, actually, there’s practically nothing left, just a handful of online media outlets that still struggle to offer an alternative view.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what’s the mood on the street like? How are Turkish people reacting to this act that they’re witnessing over a period of months now?

    AMBERIN ZAMAN: Well, when we talk about this massive crackdown and pressure on the media, et cetera, what often isn’t mentioned is the fact that there are a significant amount of people who actually support the government, who support President Erdogan.

    I just saw a recent opinion poll that showed that his popularity, if anything, is rising, that some 54 percent of the people approve of the way he’s running the country. So, that needs to be, you know, said.

    So, the country is deeply polarized between those who, you know, almost adore, let’s say, the president — there’s a cult of personality around him — and then those who, you know, bitterly oppose him, but who also happen to be bitterly divided amongst themselves, which is why there’s no really effective opposition against the government, against the president.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, while he might have great support internally, externally, forces like the U.S. and the E.U. are finding concerns with some of these actions.

    How does this affect his standing in NATO or the E.U., or potentially in the E.U.?

    AMBERIN ZAMAN: Well, at the moment, people in Brussels and this capital, Washington, are observing Turkey with increasing alarm, because Turkey seems to be increasingly erratic, unpredictable in its actions.

    As you know, Turkey is talking about intervening militarily in Iraq. It’s already done so in Syria, admittedly, to fight the Islamic State, and it has, indeed, cleared its borders of the Islamic State. But, at the same time, in Syria, it’s attacking the United States’ most effective ally in the fight against the Islamic State. And I’m talking about the Syrian Kurdish group called the YPG.

    So, that’s complicating efforts to sort of, you know, destroy the Islamic State in Syria. And at a time when, you know, there’s now this critical operation under way in Mosul, Turkey is now talking about going into Iraq. He’s engaged, the president, in a very public spat with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.

    As you know, Turkey moved several hundred troops into Iraq last December, saying that they were there to train Sunni militia, but also to act as a deterrent against Shia militias. And this is making everything a lot more complicated.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Amberin Zaman from the Wilson Center, thanks for joining us.

    AMBERIN ZAMAN: Thank you.

    The post Turkey silences more journalists in latest post-coup crackdown appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Cannabis plant is pictured at the "Weed the People" event as enthusiasts gather to celebrate the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in Portland, Oregon July 3, 2015. Smoking marijuana became legal in Oregon on July 1, fulfilling the first step in a voter-approved initiative that will usher in a network of legal weed retail stores in 2016, similar to the systems already operating in neighboring Washington state and Colorado.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola - RTX1IYIE

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Let’s focus now on a different election story, ballot initiatives and measures at the state and local level. It’s a big year for it. There are more than 150 at the state level this year.

    John Yang has the story.

    JOHN YANG: Next Tuesday, legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use is on the ballot in nine states. And voters across the country will also decide other contentious issues, including gun control, health care and prescription drug costs, the death penalty and the minimum wage.

    We take a look at some of these issues with two people who are following them very closely.

    John Myers is the Sacramento bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times, and Josh Altic tracks ballot issues for Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan online political encyclopedia.

    Josh, John, thank you both for joining us.

    John, let me start with you.

    California, as usual, has a long list of ballot initiatives that voters have to decide next Tuesday. And let’s start with marijuana. California voters approved marijuana for medicinal use in 1996, and rejected it for recreational use in 2010. Why is it back? And what’s different this time?

    JOHN MYERS, Los Angeles Times: Yes, I mean, it’s a good question. Why is it back?

    We’re the largest state in the country. And I think there has been the sense that there is a sea change in the way Californians view this, I think, in some ways mirrored in other parts of the country as well, and certainly efforts in Colorado and Washington state have gotten a lot of attention here in California.

    This measure, I will tell you, is drafted much differently than the measure that failed in 2010. It’s more detailed. It has more details about taxes that are imposed at the state and local level on marijuana. And it’s backed by a couple of very big people.

    The lieutenant governor of the state, Gavin Newsom, and Sean Parker, the impresario behind Napster and Facebook in Silicon Valley, a wealthy financier, have both gotten behind it. It has a lot of institutional support. And the polling shows that it is doing pretty well.

    How you get to legalization, I think California is watching these other state, but at this point, it looks voters are probably going to say yes.

    JOHN YANG: And, Josh, what other states is this on the ballot in? And this is — we see oftentimes ballot initiates leading the way for federal law, federal policy. It’s still illegal at the federal level. Could this be the tipping point this year?

    JOSH ALTIC, Ballotpedia: There has been a lot of discussion about whether this is the year that will really push towards removal of federal prohibition.

    You have it — so, 80 million people live in states this year where marijuana laws could be basically made more accessible to every person. So, you have recreational marijuana in Nevada, Arizona. Those are the big ones. Maine, Massachusetts, and, of course, California.

    And while California stands kind of above the rest as a really significant landmark for the tipping point idea, the fact that you have five other states, more than we have ever seen on the ballot at the same time, considering the issue is an indication that this could be a really key year for the policy.

    JOHN YANG: Another big issue nationally — it’s on the state ballot in a couple places — health care and drug prices.

    John, talk to us about, tell us about what California voters are being asked to decide on prescription drug costs.

    JOHN MYERS: You know, I think, you know, what most people should need to know about the ballot measure here in California, it’s Proposition 61 on the statewide ballot next week.

    It is, in a lot of ways, I would argue, a bit of a symbolic fight about the cost of prescription drugs. It is simply a measure that says that the state government cannot pay a price that is higher than what the federal government pays the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when it is buying prescription drugs.

    You know, the backers of it say it will bring some realistic — bringing down, perhaps, the prices and some transparency. The opponents, which is really the pharmaceutical industry, says it’s going to raise the cost of drug prices. It could for veterans and it could for others.

    This is more than a $100 million political fight here in California. The television ads, the billboards — I was driving on the highway. There was a yes-on-61 billboard and then a no-on-61 billboard within a mile of each other. It is a knock-down, drag-out fight.

    I suspect, again, it is seen as a fight that would be a proxy war for a national discussion on the cost of prescription drugs.

    JOHN YANG: And, Josh, in Colorado, voters are being asked to decide another big issue that is being talked about again with the rising Obamacare premiums, a single-payer system. Tell us about that.

    JOSH ALTIC: Yes. So, ColoradoCare is on the ballot here.

    That’s not nearly the nail-biter that you see in Prop 61. You don’t have the support money that you kind of see in California. That one is not very likely to pass. All the polls kind of point towards it failing. But it’s still unique and very significant because it’s the first of its kind to really propose a statewide single-payer health care system like that through the citizen initiative.

    Who knows kind of what doors that could unlock for future initiatives. This one didn’t seem to get the support from key Democrats and didn’t seem to get the money it needed to pass. And you have the insurance companies spending enough to make it look like it’s not going to pass.

    But the fact that you have it on the ballot, it’s significant. It’s a first-of-its-kind measure, for sure.

    JOHN YANG: Gun control, a perennial issue, John, in California, voting on ammunition, on magazine size.

    JOHN MYERS: Yes, I mean, California already has pretty much more gun control laws on the books than any other state. We’re seen by that nationally.

    This ballot measure, also backed by the lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, who wants to be governor in 2018 — and I suspect that’s part of why he’s out there promoting these — but he also says he cares about it. Proposition 63 is the one you’re talking about.

    It would require background checks for buying ammunition. It would ban the sale of large ammunition clips. It somewhat mirrors what the state legislature already did this year. But it has become a very big issue. Certainly, a lot of gun violence incidents we have seen across the country, I think, have played into this campaign.

    And, interestingly enough, you have opposition from the gun industry, from the NRA as well, but you do not see a large opposition political campaign this election season. And, in some ways, maybe they have read the polling numbers that Californians appear poised to do this. But there would be new and, I think, interesting policy choices about looking at ammunition and not just the weapons themselves.

    JOHN YANG: And, Josh, of course, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg trying to make a push nationally on this. What other states are we seeing gun control issues on the ballot?

    JOSH ALTIC: Yes, he’s spending a lot of money this year in Nevada and Maine and Washington to sort of promote measures, likewise, that would increase the amount of control the state government has over guns.

    And, interestingly, you don’t see the NRA fighting back as hard as you might expect. In Maine and in Nevada, support is outspending opposition about 5-1. And there’s more money being spent in Nevada.

    But, really, this is kind of a big national fight between Bloomberg and the NRA. And so far, more money has been put forward in support of these measures, which is a bit of a surprise to some people. They’re doing pretty well in the polls as well. You’re looking at between six and 10 points in the most recent polls. So, it’s looking pretty good for the passage of those measures.

    And that could be a reason why you don’t see as much money being spent by the NRA.

    JOHN YANG: Josh and John, lots of issues to talk about, and lots of issues that we will be talking about next week and for the days to come.

    Thanks for joining us.

    JOHN MYERS: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Online, it’s been 589 days since the presidential campaign began. And to get you through this last week, Lisa Desjardins has written an election survival guide. You can find that at PBS.org/”NewsHour.”

    The post Legal pot, gun control and other big ballot initiatives to watch appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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